“Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in DC, lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic,” said Mr Newsom said in a statement.
“He will be a senator for all Californians.”
The announcement came after progressive Latino groups in the state, which has a 40 per cent Latino population, pressed Mr Newsom to appoint Mr Padilla or another Latino to the seat.
Mr Padilla, who will serve the final two years of his predecessor’s Senate term, was also backed by California’s other senator, Dianne Feinstein.
His appointment makes him the 10th Hispanic American to serve as a US senator, and he joins current senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Catherine Cortez and Robert Menendez.
Mr Padilla, 47, is the son of Mexican immigrants and had previously served on the LA city council and the California state senate.
As the California secretary of state he ran the state’s mail-in election caused by the Covid pandemic.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies